Sunday, April 28, 2013

Batali Menu - Stuffed Meatloaf (?? !!), Pasta w Jalapeño and Crawfish,

This picture kind of stinks, and the mushroom, yellow pepper and spinach didn't work out (probably the quality of the spinach, not the recipe).....but this was a really nice dinner.
The pasta with crawfish and jalapeno was excellent - in part because there were just a few high quality ingredients. Thins strips of gently sautéed jalapeno did not make a spicy dish - just a well flavored one. The dish also relied on Batali's excellent basic tomato sauce, about which I will describe soon on Be A Better Cook.
The meatloaf-like dish was wonderful. The meat mixture was 50/50 beef and sausage, along with the expected breadcrumbs and milk. Not expected was a substantial amount of Pecorino Romano in the meat mix. The stuffing included blanched spinach and carrot batons, mortadella slices and fontina cheese. It might be a little intimidating to roll up a giant piece of meat - but it wasn't too hard with 4 hands involved.
The three recipes came from Mario Batali's iBook "Simple Family Meals", which is the first electronic cookbook I've found that is better than a traditional hardcopy cookbook. More on that recommendation coming soon.


Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Menu - Crown Roast, Alsatian Potato Pie

Christmas at home in Houston - a little different than cooking in various relatives' kitchens in Chicago for the past few years. Le menu.....

Egg Nog
Crown Roast of Pork Stuffed with Winter Fruits

The last three recipes came from Hubert Keller, who currently has a show on PBS. You can find his recipes here. Be careful though, there are errors in some recipes and the website has errors too. The vegetable technique for cooking each veg separately is commonly used in high end kitchens - I think I first saw it from Thomas Keller - and is worth the extra effort. The Tart aux Fruits recipe is not in the list of desserts - but is in the master list of all recipes. And there are no pictures of the dishes on the site - a shame because many are beautiful.

 Alsatian Potato Pie from Hubert Keller
 Crown Roast of Pork with Winter Fruits - apricot, prune, dried blueberry, dried cherry

Tart aux Fruits from Hubert Keller

Monday, November 26, 2012

Secret Ingredient for Turkey Soup

See the new post on Be A Better cook for Secret Ingredient for Turkey Soup.

Hard for you to keep a secret? Me too. It's Marsala wine or Spanish Sherry.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

With cool, overcast skies we attended a great tailgate party at Reliant Stadium with coworkers and friends. Not wanting to make too big a deal about food, I just prepped two staple dishes - Red Beans & Rice, New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp and some  homemade bread for dipping into the shrimp sauce.

Well....that didn't work. No low key at all. Because these recipes are so reliable and I've made them so many times it's hard not to get pretty good the people brought out the looove!! And the Texas held up their end of the bargain by smothering the Titans to get out to a 4-0 record for the season.

Except for the bread,which requires some dedication and training on the techniques, these are REALLY easy dishes to make. Give them a try.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Goat Cheese and Spinach Omelet

After a long break from posting here, I'm pleased to start back up with a 3 ingredient recipe. But there's a backstory. I recently spent a long weekend+ in Vegas and had the opportunity to eat at Gordon Ramsey's new restaurant several times. It was my first time eating at a Ramsey restaurant ever, desite my connection to Gordon via the Master Chef show.

I've cooked dozens of Ramsey's recipes over the last few years, so it was informative to experience  his restaurant's results first hand. Many dishes were in line with others he's done around the world (as gleaned from cookbooks) - but others were entirely new to me.  One such dish  was his beef marrow with pesto, tortoloni and homemade English muffins.

The experience revived my interest in cooking Gordon's recipes at home - as it had been 6-9 months since I last did one of his dishes. So last weekend I made a few, including this 3 ingredient omelet.

Keys to this dish were simply to:

  • Use a good amount of butter in the pan
  • Precook the baby spinach for literally seconds, remove it, then add back when the  omelet is 75% cooked
  • While cooking the omelet, use a plastic or silicon fork to almost continuously stir the eggs, which will make a flat style omelet.  But the technique with the fork makes for a 'tender' texture, what ever that means. Try it.


  1. Preheat broiler. 
  2. Add a tablespoon or more of butter into an omelet sized pan over medium high heat. 
  3. Sauté a handful of baby spinach for 10 seconds then remove. 
  4. Gently stir together 3 eggs, add a pinch of salt. 
  5. Pour into pan and cook over med high heat, while consistently stirring with a plastic or silicon fork until eggs are almost set.  
  6. Add goat cheese by pinching small portions of cheese and dropping randomly around the eggs. use as much as you like. 
  7. Add spinach atop eggs and place under broiler until lightly browned and eggs are set. 
  8. Top with a grind of fresh pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt.

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